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Schoolboy's family pays tribute to 'flying doctor' John Hinds

Published 12/10/2015

Shaun McCann, seven, whose life was saved by Dr John Hinds, pictured with his mother Jessica at Stormont
Shaun McCann, seven, whose life was saved by Dr John Hinds, pictured with his mother Jessica at Stormont

The mother of a seriously-injured schoolboy has said she will be forever indebted to "flying doctor" John Hinds.

Jessica McCann said her seven-year-old son Shaun owed his life to the medic, who was killed at a motorcycle event in the summer.

She said: "There is absolutely no doubt in my mind that if John wasn't on board and did what he did at the house, in the ambulance and in the helicopter, there is absolutely no way that Shaun would be the Shaun that we know today."

They were at Stormont to show their support for a regional air ambulance for Northern Ireland.

Shaun suffered a severe head injury after falling from a ladder at his home in Co Roscommon in July 2013.

By chance, Dr Hinds was on board the Irish Air Ambulance - Medevac 112 - having just transported a critically-injured rider from the Walderstown road race to a trauma unit in Dublin.

He volunteered to fly to the McCann family home and recognising the severity of Shaun's injury, placed him in an induced coma to protect his brain.

Dr Hinds provided mobile intensive care support whilst the young boy was being flown to hospital.

Shaun, who spent almost a week fighting for his life, now salutes every helicopter that flies over his home. "One saved my life," he said.

Mrs McCann said her family had been devastated by Dr Hinds' death.

She added: "Our lives stopped for three days. My husband was in absolute bits over it. He had to come home from work.

"We have a picture of John at home that we put a candle in front of and all the children prayed for three days solid for him. We talk about him all the time."

Dr Janet Acheson, a partner of the tragic medic, was also backing the campaign for a regional air ambulance.

She said: "Without a pre-hospital doctor, delivered to his home in a timely fashion, Shaun would not have received this intervention until he reached hospital, meaning if Shaun survived at all he was unlikely to be the Shaun we have before us today.

"Without an air ambulance Shaun's family would be marking a very different anniversary on July 14 each year."

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